The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 81r - the nature of man, continued.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

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It is not part of the project to provide a definitive edition of the text of the Bestiary, but to help readers by providing a transcription and translation of the text. Currently the following editorial conventions obtain:

Text

  1. The original capitalisation is retained, but capitals have been added for personal and place names, excluding deus and diabolus.
  2. The original punctuation, including a point and inverted semi-colon (both serving as commas), and a point (serving as a full stop), is represented by comma, full stop and question-mark; a colon has been inserted before quotations.
  3. Suggested readings are in [ ].
  4. Variants from other Bestiary texts (eg Ashmole 1511 and Patrologia Latina 176) are added where they indicate a corruption, elucidate a meaning and replace excised text. They are represented as [A: PL:]

Translation

  1. Direct quotations from the Bible, where identified, are cited from the Authorised Version in ( ).
  2. Paraphrased quotations are identified where possible and indicated as: (see Job, 18:22).
  3. Suggested translations of corrupt words are in [ ].
  4. Capitalisation is sparing; additional punctuation has been used where necessary to give the sense. Paragraphs have been created to break up the text.
from which all things spring. For the Greek word for 'earth' is ge. Life, vita, is so called from vigor, 'active power', or because it has within it the force of birth and growth. As a result, trees are said to have life, because they spring from the earth and grow. Man, homo, is so called because he is made from the soil, humus, as it says in the book of Genesis: 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground' (2:7). It is said incorrectly that man in his entirety is formed from two substances, that is, from the union of a soul and a body. Strictly speaking, man, homo, comes from soil, humus. The Greek word for man is antropos [anthropos], because he looks upwards, raised up from the ground to contemplate his creator. This is what the poet Ovid means, when he says: 'And though other animals are prone and fix

Text

The etymology of man.

Illustration

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Comment

on the desk is the colour indicator 'harie' = aerus= sky blue. James interprets this as hane. The picture is damaged, revealing the pink gesso below the gold leaf. Folio mark * bottom left.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators
    Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

    Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

Transcription

ex qua\ omnia\ gignuntur.\ Ge enim Grece terra dicitur.\ Vita dicta\ propter vigo\ rem vel\ quod vim\ teneat nas\cendi atque\ crescendi.\ Unde et ar\bores vi\tam habere\ dicuntur\ quia gignunt\ et crescunt.\ Homo dic\tus quia ex\ humo est\ factus, sicut et in Genesi dicitur: Et creavit deus hominem de humo terre. Abusi\ ve enim pronunciatur, ex utraque substantia totus homo, id est ex\ societate anime et corporis. Nam proprie homo ab humo. Gre\ci enim antropum appellaverunt eo quod sursum aspectet\ sublevatis [PL, sublevatus] ab humo ad contemplationem artificis sui. Quod\ Ovidius poeta designat cum dicit: Pronaque cum spectant animalia\

Translation

from which all things spring. For the Greek word for 'earth' is ge. Life, vita, is so called from vigor, 'active power', or because it has within it the force of birth and growth. As a result, trees are said to have life, because they spring from the earth and grow. Man, homo, is so called because he is made from the soil, humus, as it says in the book of Genesis: 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground' (2:7). It is said incorrectly that man in his entirety is formed from two substances, that is, from the union of a soul and a body. Strictly speaking, man, homo, comes from soil, humus. The Greek word for man is antropos [anthropos], because he looks upwards, raised up from the ground to contemplate his creator. This is what the poet Ovid means, when he says: 'And though other animals are prone and fix
  • Commentary

    Text

    The etymology of man.

    Illustration

    Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

    Comment

    on the desk is the colour indicator 'harie' = aerus= sky blue. James interprets this as hane. The picture is damaged, revealing the pink gesso below the gold leaf. Folio mark * bottom left.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

    • Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators
      Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

      Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

  • Translation
    from which all things spring. For the Greek word for 'earth' is ge. Life, vita, is so called from vigor, 'active power', or because it has within it the force of birth and growth. As a result, trees are said to have life, because they spring from the earth and grow. Man, homo, is so called because he is made from the soil, humus, as it says in the book of Genesis: 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground' (2:7). It is said incorrectly that man in his entirety is formed from two substances, that is, from the union of a soul and a body. Strictly speaking, man, homo, comes from soil, humus. The Greek word for man is antropos [anthropos], because he looks upwards, raised up from the ground to contemplate his creator. This is what the poet Ovid means, when he says: 'And though other animals are prone and fix
  • Transcription
    ex qua\ omnia\ gignuntur.\ Ge enim Grece terra dicitur.\ Vita dicta\ propter vigo\ rem vel\ quod vim\ teneat nas\cendi atque\ crescendi.\ Unde et ar\bores vi\tam habere\ dicuntur\ quia gignunt\ et crescunt.\ Homo dic\tus quia ex\ humo est\ factus, sicut et in Genesi dicitur: Et creavit deus hominem de humo terre. Abusi\ ve enim pronunciatur, ex utraque substantia totus homo, id est ex\ societate anime et corporis. Nam proprie homo ab humo. Gre\ci enim antropum appellaverunt eo quod sursum aspectet\ sublevatis [PL, sublevatus] ab humo ad contemplationem artificis sui. Quod\ Ovidius poeta designat cum dicit: Pronaque cum spectant animalia\
Folio 81r - the nature of man, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen